Is any British banker ever going to jail?
Some time ago at the dedicated Slogpage Pester Hester, I posted variously about the obvious anti-SME fraud taking place as a matter of routine at the State-owned bank RBS. By that time, a dedicated fighting front of SMEs had already been organised to both forensically examine and then prosecute the mobster tactics being employed to bankrupt SME borrowers and seize their assets. It seems to have been part of a desperate plan to reconfigure and repair RBS’s Nottingham Lace balance sheets.
From longstanding and reliable sources within Government both at the time and earlier, it was alleged to me that this was being done with the knowledge of Treasury Mandarins. The then CEO Stephen Hester was described to me as “the big hero around here”, a man able to expect warm handshakes and much back-slapping during his visits there. I posted about this too, alleging again that a State-owned bank was engaging in openly fraudulent activities to save what was left of its neck after Freddie Goodwin had finished wringing it.
It would be odd if the Chancellor didn’t at least hear about what was going on; and in his capacity as Business Minister, it would be bordering on ridiculous if Vince Cable was unaware of developments. But on challenging RBS to answer the charges they now (at last) face in a report, Mr Cable was reported earlier this week to have commented, “Some of these allegations are very serious and I am waiting for an urgent response as to what actions have been taken. I am however confident that the new management of RBS is aware of this history and is determined to turn RBS into a bank that will support the growth of small and medium sized businesses.”
In what I can only describe as an innocently contrite response, this “new” management replied by saying that “Facing up to these mistakes has been a difficult, but essential part of making RBS a safe and strong bank once again”.
So that’s alright then, let’s put all this unpleasantness behind us. Onward and upward.
These people become more deliberately (an irritatingly) insouciant with every week. Mr Cable may be waiting for a response, but quite a few of us out here in the cold new world are waiting for Plod to do something, for arrests to be made, for people to be charged, and for the entire reign of Hester to be examined in minute detail.
I’m saddened to hear that things have been difficult for the bank, but I’d be less sad if I thought that those who were (and still are) around to commit these crimes at a middle to senior management level might about to experience the rough and tumble of dawn raids.
We’re also waiting for an adequate Labour Opposition response. So far, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has commented, “The claims made by Lawrence Tomlinson against RBS’ Global Restructuring Group are extremely serious indeed (sic). To artificially distress otherwise successful businesses in order to seize their assets and profit would be utterly scandalous and deplorable. It’s right that the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority] and PRA [Prudential Regulation Authority] look into the claims as a matter of urgency.”
And that’s it, is it? Umunna was around when this was going on: did he help any of the support groups? Did Ed Miliband call for Hester’s resignation and investigation? Did Ed Balls harass George Osborne as to why Hester suddenly became an unperson once the sale/flotation of RBS had been mooted? WTF was the FCA doing while all this grand larceny was going on? Did they do a Co-Op on it? Sod the new regulatory window-dressing looking into this “as a matter of urgency”, why aren’t they on the case already?
Where was the media in all this? Absent, sitting and uncounted….as usual. No outcry about the activities, no calls for an enquiry when Hester was abruptly ‘let go’. “Don’t rock the boat, be nice to bankers, we mustn’t damage world confidence in British banking”. What a sick joke: you might as well ask that we all love taxi manufacturers who bend emissions data, and then acquit them of any guilt. Oh sorry, I forgot: we already did that.
We The People own 81% of this bank. We The People are about to sell it off to more nasty people who are not The People….as we have just done with the Cooperative Bank. Those people will somehow manage to avoid buying the toxic bits that We The People will be left paying for into eternity.
But don’t worry about it. Just keep on getting by. Show ’em we can take it. Business as usual. Fine fighting British spirit. Blah blah Blah Blurb Bloris Boris**…..
** Boris Johnson speech says some people “just too stupid to get on in life”. Silly people: so dumb they can’t even work out how to cheat.